Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) responded Thursday to pictures circulating on social media of he and his family en route to Cancun, Mexico, while many in his state were without power due to a historic cold snap.
Cruz says his daughters suggested taking a vacation when their school was closed for the week and they had spent several nights without power or heat. The family planned to spend Wednesday through the weekend in Cancun as a way to escape the snowy weather.
Cruz said he "started having second thoughts almost the moment" he boarded the plane, however. When the family arrived and the senator saw the growing firestorm in the media, however, he immediately bought tickets to return the following day.
The senator said the trip had become "a distraction when so many Texans are hurting and angry and mad."
"Look, it was obviously a mistake, and in hindsight I wouldn't have done it," he said. "I was trying to be a dad."
Republican consultant Doug Heye said that Texas Democrats "are going to go after [Cruz] aggressively on this," noting that should he run for president again, other Republicans would also use the moment to criticize him for appearing to leave his constituents "in a time of need."